On the relationship between lightning peak current and Early VLF perturbations

M. M. Salut, M. B. Cohen, M. A M Ali, K. L. Graf, B. R T Cotts, Sushil Kumar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Lightning strokes are known to cause direct heating and ionization of the D region, some of which are detected via scattering of VLF transmitter signals and are known as Early VLF events. The disturbed ionosphere typically recovers in many tens of seconds. New experimental evidence is presented demonstrating that the scattering pattern and onset amplitude of Early VLF events are strongly related to both the magnitude and polarity of causative lightning peak current. Observations of Early VLF events at nine Stanford VLF receiver sites across the continental United States are combined with lightning geolocation data from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). During January and March 2011, NLDN recorded 7769 intense lightning discharges with high peak currents (>100 kA) generating 1250 detected Early VLF events. We show that the size of the scattered field due to the ionospheric disturbance increases with the peak current intensity of the causative lightning discharge. The most intense peak currents of >+200 and <-250 kA disturb VLF transmitter signals as far as ∼400 km away from the lightning stroke. Early VLF event detection probability also increases rapidly with peak current intensity. On the other hand, the observed VLF amplitude change is not significantly dependent on the peak current intensity. Stroke polarity is also important, with positive strokes being ∼5 times more likely to generate Early VLF disturbances than negative strokes of the same intensity. Intense positive cloud-to-ground lightning discharges, especially when occurring over the sea, are also more likely to produce Early VLF events with long recovery (many minutes). Key Points The occurrence rate of Early VLF events increases with peak current intensity. The size of the scattered region increases with lightning peak current. Long recovery events are mostly associated with intense +CG discharges.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7272-7282
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
    Volume118
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Fingerprint

    lightning
    Lightning
    perturbation
    strokes
    stroke
    transmitters
    Transmitters
    polarity
    scattering
    recovery
    disturbance
    cloud to ground lightning
    D region
    Scattering
    ionospheric disturbances
    Recovery
    Ionosphere
    ionosphere
    ionization
    ionospheres

    Keywords

    • Early VLF events
    • lightning discharges

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Space and Planetary Science
    • Geophysics

    Cite this

    Salut, M. M., Cohen, M. B., Ali, M. A. M., Graf, K. L., Cotts, B. R. T., & Kumar, S. (2013). On the relationship between lightning peak current and Early VLF perturbations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 118(11), 7272-7282. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JA019087

    On the relationship between lightning peak current and Early VLF perturbations. / Salut, M. M.; Cohen, M. B.; Ali, M. A M; Graf, K. L.; Cotts, B. R T; Kumar, Sushil.

    In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 118, No. 11, 2013, p. 7272-7282.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Salut, MM, Cohen, MB, Ali, MAM, Graf, KL, Cotts, BRT & Kumar, S 2013, 'On the relationship between lightning peak current and Early VLF perturbations', Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, vol. 118, no. 11, pp. 7272-7282. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JA019087
    Salut, M. M. ; Cohen, M. B. ; Ali, M. A M ; Graf, K. L. ; Cotts, B. R T ; Kumar, Sushil. / On the relationship between lightning peak current and Early VLF perturbations. In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 2013 ; Vol. 118, No. 11. pp. 7272-7282.
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